“I will not be sorry to leave this world.”
“You’re not going anywhere, Grandpa.”
Carrie put a hand on his arm.
He rested his own hand upon hers; gave it a squeeze. “I can’t remember the last time someone
touched me.” Carrie dropped her eyes and
a silence fell upon the room. He felt
uncomfortable: He didn’t mean to embarrass Carrie. She was the only one who’d bothered to come. He pointed to a crack in the ceiling. “I wish I’d painted that one last time.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Paint I understand.
Something looks bad, slap a coat of paint on it and cover it up, good as
His old dog padded into the room, his toenails clicking on the
hardwood floor. “You can’t fix things up
so easily anymore. The world is
complicated too now.” He sighed. “People don’t want to deal with a confused old
“You’re the smartest man I know.”
“All the rules are
changed. It’s everyone for himself.”
“Not everyone. People
are basically still good.”
“My Carrie, ever the optimist.” His eyes wandered to the ceiling again. “How are you coming along at that law school?” She should be married by now.
She smiled. “Top of
“Learning a lot?”
Would she ever have children?
“You have a boyfriend?”
He’d always dreamed of walking Carrie down the aisle in place of her
absent father; wanted to tell his future son-in-law to take care of her.
She grinned. A blush
stole across her face.
“He hold the door for you?”
“I don’t need him to do that.”
“First thing my daddy taught me was to hold a door for a
woman. Taught me to stand when a lady
entered the room. Does he do that?”
She laughed and shook her head.
“Well, he ought to.” The
dog put his head on the bedspread, nuzzled at the man’s hand. “Your mother told me you stopped going to
She bit her lip. “Long
“Butt out, old man?”
He chuckled. “What do you think
this old world will be like thirty years from now?”
Carrie looked out at vegetable garden. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I'd like to think it will be a better place. But…”
“Take care of my peach trees for me.”
She blinked. “I will.”
“Look your boyfriend in the eyes when you talk to him.”
She smiled. Nodded.
“If you ever have children, kiss them goodnight. Tuck them into bed.”
“Get yourself back to church. And not just for my funeral.”
“Promise me this, Carrie.”
“I promise,” she whispered.
“Teach your sons to stand when a lady enters the room.”
She fingered her bracelet.
He laughed then and closed his eyes. "I'm dead now. 'Long with faith and chivalry."
And the dog nuzzled the old man’s hand while Carrie sat
staring out at the garden waiting for the sun to set.
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Cameron gave me this prompt: "I'm dead now. 'Long with faith and chivalry." — from Faster, Sooner, Now by David Gray.
I gave Eric Limer this prompt: Sitting inside the eye of the storm.
Labels: flash fiction, scriptic.org